This paper aims to examine personality as an alternative explanation to social exchange in predicting OCB, and investigate the moderating role of gender in the link between personality and OCB.
A survey was conducted among 223 UK public sector employees. Multiple regression analysis tested main effects of personality and main and moderating effects of gender on OCB.
Findings indicate that personality has significant explanatory power beyond that of social exchange in predicting OCB. Employees with high levels of adaptive perfectionism report higher levels of OCB. General self‐efficacy also predicted more participation in citizenship behaviours, but only for men. Women appear to carry out citizenship behaviours regardless of how confident they feel in being able to successfully perform. This may be attributable to social and organizational norms that place women in the role of “helper” and expect more communal behaviours from them than from men.
The cross‐sectional design of the study does not permit firm conclusions regarding causality, and the use of self‐report data carries with it the potential for common method bias.
The study's results suggest that encouraging adaptive perfectionistic behaviours and cognitions among employees (e.g. setting high personal standards for performance while taking setbacks in stride) may yield dividends in terms of OCB. Investing in general self‐efficacy training, especially for male employees, may also improve participation in citizenship behaviours.
This study extends previous work on personality by demonstrating that adaptive perfectionism can predict OCB. Existing research on gender and OCB was extended by the discovery that the role of self‐efficacy in predicting OCB may be particularly significant for men. Findings suggest that the use of social exchange theory as the predominant explanation for employees' performance of OCB may need to be reconsidered.
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